Kyrgyzstan president declares state of emergency amid protests

Oct. 9 (UPI) — Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency Friday as protests over parliamentary elections became violent.

Factions of protesters fought each other in the capital of Bishkek as rival politicians vied to be named the country’s next prime minister. The unrest began after Sunday’s disputed parliamentary election, which members of the opposition said was rigged to benefit parties with ties to Jeenbekov.

The president said the state of emergency would be in effect beginning 8 p.m. Friday through Oct. 21. The order includes a curfew, military restrictions and limits on who can enter and leave the capital.

Earlier this week, opposition groups took hold of much of the country’s government, releasing politician Sadyr Japarov and former President Almazbek Atambayev from prison. Atambayev escaped injury Friday when protesters allegedly shot at his vehicle.

At least one person has died and more than 1,000 people have been injured in the week’s violence.

Jeenbekov went into hiding earlier this week and under pressure from the opposition, dismissed the prime minister, and the military and security chiefs. Jeenbekov said he was prepared to resign after a new Cabinet was appointed and calm returns to the country.

The Central Election Commission said it annulled the results of the election “in consideration of the political situation in the country” and Parliament held an extraordinary session in Biskek to replace the government while demonstrators hurled stones at the windows.

Protests in the city erupted Monday after the parliamentary election results were released, stating that four of the 16 parties in the election had secured 7% of the vote necessary for entry into Parliament with three of the four having close ties to Jeenbekov.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a 16-page report on Monday that the elections were generally “well run and candidates could campaign freely.”

However, opposition parties and candidates have voiced allegations of vote buying, which the international security organization said was “a serious concern.”

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